A slight nit: in the 40 years that Benson has been publishing his book he never, not even once, published a head-to-head study of TM vs his "Relaxation Response."
In fact, the criticisms that were leveled against Keith Wallace's first study apply equally well to Benson's research. And so, for the past 40 years, comparisons of the effects of two different practices were made based on preliminary results of studies that wouldn't be published in today's journals. When the American Heart Association meditation practices, they compared all the research they could find on every practice, including Benson's Relaxation Response. Their conclusion was that only TM had sufficiently GOOD research with sufficiently CONSISTENT effects, to allow them to make a recommendation. All other practices were given a non-passing grade. Remember: that's 40 years of research coming out of HARVARD UNIVERSITY couldn't persuade the AHA to endorse Benson's Relaxation Response. So... to call Benson the "foremost meditation scientist" is pure BS. To say that "TM blew it" by alienating such a "great scientist" is another bit of BS. L ---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <anartaxius@...> wrote : Like you Share, I really did not pay attention to the selling points as I had had experiences prior to TM, I was just looking for an easy way to meditate, a natural consequence of being lazy. The sell was there in the introductory and preparatory lectures and in available chart books supposedly showing benefits from the scientific side, but I ignored all that at the time. My first few meditations were really rotten, I almost quit right there. But trying to sell TM to friends who are not really into this kind of thing proved more of a challenge. None of my friends ever learned, except for a couple, and they never finished the course. A few of my family learned, and they all quit too. I did discover that some of my friends who were teachers, when I criticised the quality of the scientific research on TM, would try really had to convince me the research was really true. About 1% of research on meditation in general is of good quality. Part of that seems to lie with the advertising mentality of the TMO. Dr. Lorin Roche wrote the following: The Relaxation Response is the term coined by Herbert Benson, M.D., in 1968 or so when looking at the physiological data he was getting from TM (Transcendental Meditation) meditators who were coming to his lab to be measured. Benson soon got tired of our relentless TM zealotry and the way we (TM teachers who were working for him) would sign official research documents with "Jai Guru Dev." As TM teachers, we wanted to take the results from his lab and instantly use them as part of our advertising and our public lectures. TM at the time had meditation centers in every major city in the United States, and teachers on most every college campus across the country. It was a hugely popular movement. But Benson needed to be able to "clone" TM, make it into a laboratory-standardized technique that could be replicated and measured at other labs. That's what science is. So he decided to de-mystify mantras, and he started telling people to just pick their own mantra, such as the word, "ONE." This scandalized the whole TM movement, but he had to do it. And truth be told, as far as I know, Benson in his 30 years or so of research on the physiology of meditation, publishing hundreds of scientific papers, is probably the greatest meditation scientist ever. I trust his findings. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, TM meditators were the guinea pigs of choice for scientists, because there were hundreds of thousands of them in the United States alone, and tens of thousands in other countries, their training was standardized, and they were so well trained that they could come into a medical lab and actually MEDITATE while the scientists stuck needles in their arms, electrodes on their heads, hands and hearts, and breathe into oxygen-consumption measuring masks. It's hard to find people like that! Think about it. Who in their right mind would take out part of their day to do such a thing? When I used to do this, in the 70's, it meant driving through ugly traffic to UCI Medical School, then going into a lab with a thousand rats in cages just a couple dozen feet away, the smell of ether in the air, and letting the guys in white coats poke me with huge needles and take blood samples while I meditated. TM blew it, by alienating one of the great scientists at work in the field, and by pushing bad science — publishing in their ads the results of trial studies. But the Buddhists, by comparison, played it very smart, and gradually came to be the favorite of physiological researchers. The Buddhists cheerfully cooperated with the needs of scientists, it is a match made in heaven because Buddhism is a very clinical take on life anyway. ---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <sharelong60@...> wrote : WRT TM, I never got a snow job or a hard sell. In 1972, I was student teaching in a non traditional high school. One of the other student teachers explained the bubble diagram to me. Also during this time, my husband and I were doing marijuana approx 3 times a year. I wished that I could have that high in a natural way. We also did a yoga class. I caught a cold. Now fast forward three years. I'm in Yes health food restaurant in DC. A gorgeous young man comes up to my table, doesn't say a word, and leaves a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi. I read the book over several months but don't understand most of it. A few months later I'm visiting my Mom. She comments that I seem so peaceful. I'm thinking about taking a Tai Chi class at Univ of Maryland, called The Art of Moving Meditation. One beautiful day in March 1975, I take my camera to Rock Creek Park. Along the way I stop at a grocery store. As I'm leaving, I see a picture of Maharishi for the first time. I don't know why, except for the word "meditation," but I note the time, date and place of the intro lecture. When I go to the lecture at my local public library there are 2 other people present. The lecturer is giving out literature. I tell him I don't need the literature because I know I'm gonna start. And I did. A week before the first Merv Griffin Show. And from the beginning, I knew this was what I had been wishing for. 6 weeks later I attended my first residence course. 6 months later I came to MIU. All without any snow job or hard sell.